Gout is a metabolic disorder that can affect the big toe joint. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in a person's blood, forming crystals that are then deposited in a joint, usually the big toe joint. The medical term for gout in the big toe joint is gout.
Symptoms of gouty arthritis include a red, hot, and very painful joint. If gout attacks are left untreated and recur for several years, joint damage can occur. Additionally, gouty tophi , which are visible or palpable urate deposits, can form on the toe.
Sometimes it can be difficult for a healthcare professional to distinguish between gouty arthritis of the big toe joint and an infected joint. In this case, your healthcare provider may order a blood test to check the level of uric acid in your bloodstream. If it is elevated, it could be a sign of a gout attack, although this is not a hard and fast rule, but just a hint.
Often times, a doctor will need to take a sample of fluid in the joint to detect uric acid crystals and make a definitive diagnosis .
Treatment of gout in the big toe joint has two parts: treating both the toe and the increased levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. For a toe, an acute attack of gout can be treated with prescription drugs called colchicine, an anti-inflammatory (such as NSAIDs), or steroids.
To relieve gout and prevent future attacks, your healthcare provider will likely recommend losing weight if you are overweight or obese and make dietary changes , such as:
- Reduce the consumption of red meat, seafood and alcohol
- Avoid foods and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.
- Increase your diet in low-fat dairy products, vegetables, and whole grains.
If you have more than one attack of gout, your doctor may recommend a prescription medicine to lower the level of uric acid in your bloodstream.